Monday, May 18, 2009

Political Slogans in Pakistan by Nadia Khan

When I was writing my previous article, "Slogans of MQM" I realized that this canvass could be extended bit more to include other political parties too. Here is the updated version. Nadia Khan


In Pakistan , political slogans convey the facts of life and are sometimes revealing the hidden information of meaningful nature. After independence, number of political slogans had made their way in our society. Ayub Kutta Hai Hai, during the days of former President Ayub Khan became quite famous even after his resignation and exit from active politics, was seen on many walls.


Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP’s) famous slogan "Roti, kapra aur makan, mang raha hay herr insan" has stayed with us for four decades and it still inspires the low-income cadres of the party who form the nucleus of the party. Another popular PPP slogan, "Bhutto family hero hero, Baqi saray zero zero,” bluntly conveys that only the Bhuttos count in the party as the rest don't have a value more than a zero. This has made number of old PPP stalwarts and “uncles” of slain Benazir Bhutto, angry and finally out of the party. During the elections of 1977, most famous slogan of PNA was Ganjay kay serr per hal chalay ga, hel chalay ga phel milay ga, means ploughing would happen upon Mr Bhuttos’ head and then fruit will grow!


Once Zia ul Haq entered into politics, he has his share of political slogans highlighting Islamic cause and lionizing him as a pious leader. Mard e Momin, Mard e Haq Zial ul Haq Zia ul Haq, means that Zia ul Haq is a pious and true Muslim, was chanted by his followers during those days. However, his opposition, MRD, which was based on the amalgamation of PPP and Fazul Rehman use to term him as America ka jo yar hay ghaddar hay ghaddar hay, means anyone who is friend of America is traitor to Pakistan .


When General Zia imposed ban on all student unions across the country, student wings of political parties became very active with Islami Jamiat Tulba, a student wing of Jama e Islami, at forefront and had coined a new slogan, Jo Talba say takrayie ga, wo pash pash ho jaye ga, saying that anyone who strikes students would be crushed, became quite famous during those days. Another slogan, Lathee goli kee sarkar, nahee chalay gee nahee chalay gee, had asked govt that with the help of batons and bullets govt would no longer function properly.


In 1986 this slogan Charoun souboun kee zanjeer, baynazir baynzair became very famous while arranging the heroic reception for the daughter of late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto; late Benazir Bhutto. After her tragic death, zinda hay BB zinda hay became quite famous among PPP political circles. 


"Qadam bharao Nawaz Sharif, Hum tumharay saath hain," means move ahead Nawaz Sharif, we all are with you, also gained popularity when the PML-N leader was being moved ahead and take on his rivals during IJI days. Some analysts say that it also was an effort to create the Nawaz Sharif cult in our peculiar dynastic politics which is the blood of our main stream political figures. Based on PML (N) election mark Tiger or Lion, their supporters had coined a slogan Dekho dekhko Koun Aaya – Sheer aya sheer aya, means look who has come in, a lion is arrived, became quite famous during his tenure.


MQM, in our national politics have coined number of political slogans to idolize Altaf Hussain, party’s founder, by coining & chanting Jeeya Altaf in the style of Jeeay Bhutto. As MQM lovers say that our sloganeering basically symbolizes the founder, conveys admiration for him and loyalty to Muhajir cause. Such slogans convey a lot more than hours long speeches or lengthy articles with true arguments. The activists of any political party wouldn’t work on their own unless they have been instructed to do so and MQM “fighters” are die hard lovers of Altaf Hussain, as their slogan is “Hum ko Manzil Nahee Rehnuma Chaheya” means we don’t need to achieve our goals; we need only a leader, is the guiding light for them or Quaid kay ferman pay jan bhee Qurban hay was a candle light for Muhajir activists.


However MQM critics say that you have not seen such an idiotic or funny slogan all the way in slogans history, which says that a leader is needed rather than the goals set by the party. Another view is that leader is having precedence over the targets. Or some analysts say that Muhajir community, who liked MQM only, will not accept anything without Altaf Bhai.


Few Karachi based political analysts did some analysis on to this slogan by extending it to the founder of Pakistan . If this slogan would have been there before partition in 1947 and common people used to say, “Hum ko Pakistan Nahee Quaid e Azam Chaheya” means we don’t need Pakistan ; we need Muhammad Ali Jinnah only. If it would have been the case then most likely, Quaid e Azam himself, should have asked his lovers to stop chanting this slogan.


They say that, no one in pre-partition India had raised any such slogan – we don’t need independence of India ; we need only Gandhi. Even the man with whom Altaf Hussain is inspired in his early political days – G M Syed; his followers, with so much love for Syed, didn’t raise any such slogan. Few say that this slogan is mostly the brain child of military dictators who are the true reflection of MQM’s this slogan such as Yahya Khan proved it with his actions that he doesn’t need Pakistan but his own self was more important than the country. Same is true in case of Musharraf when he was demolishing the institutions and tribal Pakistanis as he felt that his own personality (or his prolonged tenure of govt) is more important than Pakistan or Pakistanis.


Jo Quaid Ka Ghaddar Hay Wo Maut Ka Haqdarr hay, means anyone who betrays Altaf Hussain; only deserves death punishment was quite common among MQM activists during the days of 1992 Karachi Army Operation & there after. As there’s no election mechanism within MQM, the loyalty with Altaf Hussain is trend-setter in the party to gain benefits, national or provincial assemblies’ seats tickets or minister ships portfolios. I believe that within this context this slogan appears to be a practical approach for MQM activists!


Beside that, Karachi residents are aware of few other slogans such as MuhajirouN kay teen Ghaddar – Mir Jaffer, Mir Sadiq, and Mir Khalil ur Rehman. This means there have been three traitors within the Muhajir community, Mir Jaffer who betrayed Muslim Indian ruler Siraj ud Daula during war of Plassey, Mir Sadiq who betrayed Shaheed Tipu Sultan and the founder of Jang group, Mir Khalil ur Rehman. Probably it is assumed that Jang group had betrayed Altaf Hussain, being a Muhajir, by not publishing his photo at his desired place. This was chanted by MQM activists when Jang group of news papers had refused to publish Altaf Hussain’s photo on to the front page of daily Jang, an Urdu newspaper, near the main headline.


It is still in memory of many Karachi residents that they have seen number of banners hoisted in district central where a welcoming note for Altaf Hussain birthday celebration mentioning him as Mohsin e Insaneeyat Ko Salgirah Mubarak means happy birthday to the well wisher of humanity. Whole world knows that this title in Urdu language is meant for last Holy Prophet Muhammad Sallahu Alihay wassallum (peace be upon him) and no one attributed after him for same!


Until recently, MQM’s new slogan Karachi Kis Ka – MQM Ka, means who is the owner of Karachi - that’s MQM, had raised major concerns for other communities residing in the city such as Pathans, who own most of the transport business in the city.


Lawyers’ movement, beside its success, had brought number of literary things such as poetry, poems from Aitazaz Ahsan, and slogans against ex-President Pervaiz Musharraf when he sacked the Chief Justice. Go Musharraf go was quite famous and repeatedly chanted against him in almost all the functions. When it came to docking off Army Chief Uniform, the popular Punjabi slogan Chacha Wardee Lahenda Kioun Naiee, Pension lay kay janda kioun naiee? as asking why Uncle Musharraf is not docking off his uniform and why he is going away by taking his retirement pension, chanted by lawyers had stir the environment.


The lovers of Ali Ahmed Kurd used to chant Dekho dekhko Koun Aaya – Sheer aya sheer aya upon his arrival in lawyers processions.

Communist and Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) workers after the incident of 12th May 2007 in their rallies were using this new slogan against the MQM. It was extremely popular in the rally in front of the Supreme Court building:

Yeh MQM kya hai...MAFIA
Altaf ka yeh...Mafia
Musharraf ka yeh..Mafia
Jarnailon ka yeh...Mafia

Khoonkharon ka yeh..Mafia
Nafrat ka hai yeh..Mafia
Fasciston ka yeh...Mafia
Zaalimon ka hai yeh...Mafia

Yeh MQM kya hai....Mafia
Har zaalim ka yeh..Mafia
Har jaabir ka yeh....Mafia
Makkaaron ka yeh...Mafia
Ghaddaaron ka yeh...Mafia


“We made Pakistan and we will save the country” is the slogan that lawyers community has raised since March 9 when the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan Ifthikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was rendered non-functional by the then president Pervaiz Musharraf.


Beside these political slogans from various parties, “all dictators, civilian or military, have always introduced some slogan in Pakistan to justify their regimes wanting in legitimacy. Ayub Khan introduced ‘Ideology of Pakistan ’, Bhutto ‘Islamic Socialism’, Zia ‘Pakistaniat’ and finally Gen Musharraf ‘ Pakistan First’, which apparently has also been dutifully adopted by the new prime minister (Shaukat Aziz). While all previous slogans had a ring of idealism about them, though quite misplaced and meaningless, the last one, i.e. ‘ Pakistan First’, has a touch of irony about it when it connotes avoiding of unnecessary involvement in issues that are of no concern or benefit to Pakistan . … indeed to most sensible Pakistanis, the slogan ‘ Pakistan First’ will only make sense if our rulers, to the exclusion of everything else, take such action on the political and diplomatic plane that would benefit the people of Pakistan at large,” writes Justice (R) Shaiq Usmani.

Posted via email from nadia_khaan's posterous


Unknown said...

HI Nadia,
Thank you for giving this interesting study. Could you please tell me what were your sources for information. I am also working on Pakistani Political discourse.

Anonymous said...

You missed to mentioned Jama'at-i-islami slogan in response to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP’s) famous slogan "Roti, kapra aur makan, mang raha hay herr insan"??

Unknown said...

Thanks Nadia for giving this interesting information.

Mir Mohammad Ali Khan